EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Norfolk Southern to conduct additional cleanup and sheen investigations into the East Palestine train derailment.
The cleanup will be focused on oily sheens and sediments in Sulphur Run and Leslie Run creeks in East Palestine and surrounding areas.
In February, the EPA issued a unilateral administrative order requiring Norfolk Southern to remove spilled substances and impacted soils from the derailment site. The EPA said that this new order will require a similarly comprehensive investigation of oil-contaminated sediments in the creeks.
EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore released a statement:
“As many folks have seen, the sediment in the creeks in some areas may generate a sheen when disturbed or agitated. In addition to the sampling and clean-up work over the last eight months, EPA will require that contamination from the derailment is identified along the impacted length of the creeks. Through this order, Norfolk Southern will take a thorough look at the waterways to ensure there are no lasting impacts from the derailment.”
According to a press release, the sheen investigation will happen along a roughly 5-mile length extending along impacted areas of both creeks.
Ohio Senator JD Vance is calling the order a “small” victory but says much more needs to be done. He says the promise of additional testing is one thing, but action is another.
“If I’m in East Palestine and I see this very, very dangerous looking water, I don’t have any confidence that my kids can play near that creek, that my kids can drink the water that is being delivered by that creek. So the EPA has to take a firmer look at this,” Vance said.
Vance says he believes it’s his responsibility to keep after the EPA and other federal agencies to ensure East Palestine’s cleanup is done properly and completely.